Most job applicants know: answering your cell phone, chewing gum, and showing up visibly drunk or on drugs is NOT the way to land your dream job. In my 8 years as a business manager, I’ve seen these interviewing mistakes and much, much worse. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and remember some of the worst offenders…
Interviewed for a position as a house cleaner:
- Visibly high on drugs, this candidate could not sit still during the interview and kept jumping up to pace the room! He could not keep eye contact and fidgeted with his hands, feet, and legs when he did sit.
- Another candidate kept commenting on how much she disliked “rich” people, even though the company’s niche market was catering to the very wealthy.
Interviewed for a handyman position:
- A male candidate made comments that were racist against Asians, and sexist. (Note: Interviewer was both Asian and a woman!)
- A different male candidate would not look female interviewer in the eye through most of the interview, and stared at her chest instead.
Interviewed for a hospital manager position:
- This candidate started the meeting complaining about how long he had waited, even though he had arrived 30 minutes too early! He continued to show impatience with the process, stating that he didn’t want to waste his time, and so he wanted an immediate decision. We decided “not!”
Interviewed for a customer service position:
- One candidate showed up in a leather jacket (instead of a suit jacket), which he wore during the entire interview. His cell phone continued to ring, and each time it rang, he would interrupt the conversation to check who was calling and silence the ringer. Even after at least three interruptions, he did not turn the phone off, or put it on vibrate!
- When asked a question about his decision-making process whenever faced with an important decision, another candidate entered into long explanation of his search for a mail-order bride. Even when the interviewers attempted to change the subject, the candidate kept using the mail-order bride example for each question.
- Still another candidate chewed gum all through the interview, and kept referring to himself as “charismatic.” His response to each question was how his charisma would be his key to success. Funny how “charisma” becomes less and less charming each time you hear it from the same person!
- A young female candidate with otherwise strong work experience answered questions by giggling and steering talk towards non-professional and “girly” subjects like shopping and her husband. Both interviewers were also females, and kept trying to steer the conversation in ways that the candidate could show us her customer service skills. She wanted to talk about reality television and doing her hair instead!
Fortunately, these strange cases are the exception and not the rule. Most job interviews will tend to be on the boring side, if anything. However, all it takes is a few experiences such as these to keep in perspective that although you won’t want to hire every candidate who comes through your door, you can at least count on a few to entertain you!